Could you imagine to being accused of being a witch and being sentenced to death for something you didn’t do? The Salem witchcraft trials were a series of trials and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft and sorcery in colonial Massachusetts.
The Salem witch trials was an important part of Massachusetts history because it affected many people, it influenced other places about witch trials, and it gave significant people ideas about witchcraft.The Salem witch trials were an important part of American history that changed the way many people think. Although being generally known as the Salem witch trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in several towns: Salem village, Salem town, Ipswich, and Andover(brooks). The victims of the Salem witch trials are Bridget Bishop, Rev.
George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, Giles Cory, Martha Cory, Mary Easty, Sarah Good, Elizabeth How, George Jacobs Sr., Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, John Proctor, Sr., Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Margaret Scott, Samuel Wardwell, Sarah Wilds, John Willard, Lydia Dastin, Ann Foster, infant Girl (daughter of Sarah Good), Sarah Osborne, Roger Toothaker, Sir William Phips, William Stoughton, Jonathan Corwin, Thomas Danforth, Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, John Richards, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Peter Sargent, Samuel Sewall, Stephen Sewall, Wait Winthrop, Thomas Brattle, Francis Dane, Deodat Lawson, Cotton Mather, Increase Mather, Samuel Parris, Samuel Willard, Sarah Bibber, Elizabeth Booth, Sarah Churchill, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Parris, Ann Putnam Jr., Susanna Sheldon, Mary Warren, Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams, Tituba, Ann Dolliver, Philip English, Abigail Faulkner, Mary Ireson, Margaret Jacobs, Israel Porter, Joseph Putnam Children, Gloucester Women, John Alden, Thomas Putnam, and William Griggs(lewis victims, 2017). The belief of witchcraft in Europe started with a religious and classical text. “European “Christendom” saw a high level of persecution of witches — those supposedly practicing Maleficarum or harmful magic — which peaked especially from the mid 15th century (the 1400s) to the mid 18th century (1700s).”(lewis, 2017) “About three-fourths of the executions based on witchcraft accusations were in the Holy Roman Empire, including parts of what are today Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The peaks of accusations and executions came at somewhat different times in different regions.
“(Lewis, 2017). In 1692 a group of girls convicted a slave with the name Tituba, who worked for Samuel Parris, after player a fortune telling game the group of girls fell ill and began acting unnaturally. Multiple of the girls started having fits all with the same symptoms that included hiding under the furniture, twisting in pain, and suffering a fever.
The girls were taken to see a doctor but the doctor indicated there was nothing physically wrong with them and claimed they had been possessed. The girls faulted local women of the name Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn and Tituba who all worked for Reverend Samuel Parris. These three women were easy targets for an accusation of witchcraft since they were a social outcast, so many people in Salem believed they were involved in witchcraft. On March 1st these women were arrested and examined for evidence of witchcraft. Tituba shockingly confessed that all three of them had approached the devil and agreed to do his bidding. Her confession made the other villagers anxious that there were more witches among them and more people were accused of witchcraft which started the hysteria that leads to the Salem witchcraft trials(brooks,2011). The historical significance of the trials were the act caused many peoples death and others to be hurt due to a false accusation which affected many people.
The actions helped more people believe there weren’t actually witches and ended most of the witch hunts around the world. Many people believed there were witches due to the social norm for someone to do something which made them believe that if one person didn’t do the social norm they were a witch. People thought that if a person didn’t go to church or they didn’t do something widely done among others that they were working with the devil and were witches. The trials were well-known in the colonial time and many people endorsed it out of fear that there were witchcraft among them. They were willing to do whatever was needed to rid the town of witchcraft(lewis witch hunts). The conflict of the Salem witch trials were that innocent people of colonial Massachusetts were sentenced to death due to the thoughts and beliefs of others.
People then would be taken to jail and put to trial where they tried to find evidence. During that period the evidence they needed were reliable but they still used it as proof that the person was a witch then convicted to death. The doubtfulness started to grow after respected residents were suspected and executed. After the trials and executions, judges a part of them publicly admitted wrongdoing and on January 14, 1697, the general court ordered a day of fasting and self-analysis for the catastrophe of Salem.
In 1702, the trials became unlawful and in 1711, the colony passed a bill reestablishing the rights and the honor of those accused and gave the heirs of the victims 600 pounds. But it wasn’t until 250 years later,1957, that the state of Massachusetts formally apologized for the events (Blumberg, 2007). There appears to be still some people that presumed there are witches in modern time. “In 2005, an 8-year-old girl in London, England, was accused of being a witch by a family member. The girl’s family abused her and rubbed chili peppers in her eyes to ‘beat the devil out of her.’ British authorities immediately acted to remove the girl from the home.
Three family members were held accountable for treating the girl as a witch.”(society). People still believe and are scared that there are witches that are working with the devil even in modern times.The Salem witch trials that started in 1692 when people were accused to be witches and sentenced to death had impacted the world in many ways. The Salem witch trials was an important part of Massachusetts history because it affected many people, it influenced other places about witch trials, and it gave significant people ideas about witchcraft.
The trials are a big part of Massachusetts history and will continue to be for years. Our country continues to grow the Salem witch trials will hopefully not be forgotten.